Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vintage Pledge 2015 Wrap-up

In Januari I made myself a Vintage Pledge. During this past year, the Pledge had changed a little because it turned out it wasn't really manageable yet. I hadn't sewn a real vintage pattern, so I didn't know what I got myself into. The original Pledge stated that I had to make at least 3 pieces of clothing out of real Vintage Patterns. I ended up changing that in real Vintage or Vintage Inspired patterns.

The Tartan Circle Skirt and the Tartan Capelet
With 2 weeks left, I sticked to my Vintage Pledge and made 5 pieces: In october there was the Chinese Blouse, in November the out-of-season Orla and in December there were 3: The Tartan Circle Skirt, the Tartan Capelet and the White Christmas Blouse.

The Chinese Blouse
The Witte Kerst-blouse
The Circle Skirt is a classic. You don't need a pattern to make one and cannot go more 50's than this. So I made this one from scratch. The matching Capelet is nothing more than another circle skirt, but smaller. They used to be really 'hot' back in the day. Just watch my Pinspiration-board. The Chinese Blouse and White Christmas-Blouse were both based on 50's fashion. The same goes for the out-of-order Orla: a vintage vibe and fabulous collar! One 'to die for'!

The Orla Blouse

I will definitely participate in next year's Pledge, but then I'll be better prepared: This past year I've collected at least 32 Vintage patterns. I already selected one of them and chose the fabric and notions. Now all I need to do is get the pattern out, adjust it and voilĂ . (sounds simple, but alas). 2016 will be a Vintage year!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

DIY Christmas wreath #sewcotton #christmas #wreath #diy

Mery Christmas everyone! Enjoy your day with friends and family!

PS: the wreath is homemade and I'm proud of it :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A White Christmas Blouse

A few days ago, I made you guys a promise. I announced that I would show the white blouse I was wearing underneath my Christmas Outfit. It wasn't really visible, but now it is!

Last October I told you that I would definitely make Gertie's Bow-Tied Blouse again, but without the bow. So that's what I did last week! The buttons were already in my stash and the fabric was on sale. The only downside is that it is a little translucent, depending on what I'm wearing underneath. Luckily, there is a way around it :-)

Ziezo, nu hebben jullie mijn volledige Kerst-outfit gezien! Wat vonden jullie ervan?

PS: er werd ten huize Allynara ook druk in de weer geweest met zelfgemaakte Kerstdecoratie. Kom op 25 december zeker een kijkje nemen!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Capelet

Yes, the cat wanted some attention too :-)

Last week I was on a sewing spree. There's just no other word for it. I made 2 skirts, 1 blouse and 1 capelet in 1 week! Never before was there such a sewing operation going on at Allynara's! The first skirt - the Tartan Circle Skirt - was blogged the same day I finished it. Now it's time for the second one: the Capelet.

This capelet came to mind after a brainstorm session on one of the Facebook-groups I follow. After sewing the circle skirt I was left with 1,5m of this Tartan fabric. But what to make with it? One of the members suggested making a cape out of it, another suggested a bolero. The cape-idea really stuck with me. The next day, the cape was finished!

Pinterest was my go-to inspiration. Rhonda Buss and Project Run and Play - this and this Pin - were my biggest inspirations - aside from the vintage ones like this, this, this, this and this. The capelet itself is a simple circle skirt, 48cm long and the hole in the middle is about 11cm if I'm not mistaken. After cutting I slashed one side to make the front. Because I didn't want too look foolish and avoid overkill, I decided to make the capelet reversible. After all: a Tartan skirt and Capelet would be a bit too much, don't you think? The red side will be worn with the skirt, the Tartan side can be worn with something else.

With the sleeves turned up, it dances on the line with over-the-top and cute.

After fitting, I decided it wasn't as elegant as I wanted to. That's when Rhonda Buss' pin came to mind: the thing I liked about her cape is the fact that it's wrapped around the wiast. So you get the full sleeves with your nice figure. I went back to the sewing machine and sewed 2 more buttons. The buttons - the ones from the sides and the ones in front - are fabric-covered with some leftover fabric. This makes them blend in and pop out.

If I ever made another capelet - you never know - I wouldn't go for a full circled one, but more 3/4th or something This because this one has a little too much 'bounce' at the shoulders. Aside from that, I'm very happy with this one!

The downside of turning autofocus off and forgetting about it. But It gives you an idea of the self covered buttons.
Soooo, you guys still haven't seen the blouse (worn in the pics above, but not visible) and other skirt. Keep an eye on the blog!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Tartan Circle Skirt

December. It's the final month of the year. Already!! Can you believe that 2015 is almost over? 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days are practicly done. About time to finish some stuff and get that New Year's Resolution finished. A circle skirt doesn't need a pattern and you can't go any more Vintage 50's than that!

Leopold thought he should get his 10 minutes of fame

Originally I didn't think I would be able to squeeze this out of 1,5m of fabric, so I doubled it. Of course I did get the skirt out of 1,5m, but only barely. I wanted the skirt to have a nice vintage feel to it, so I decided that it had to be 60cm long. With the seams added, I truly did squeeze this one out. I had about 0,3cm left on the sides! But now I'm left with another 1,5m of this fabric. What to do with it? Would a matching cape be too much?

As a real Gentleman, he doesn't look underneath a lady's twirling skirts.

There isn't much to say about this pattern, since it's a circle skirt. There are tons of tutorials around the Internet if you want to make one of your own. If you are able to make one without a seam, it is even the simplest thing you can make for yourself. You only need to hem it and add a border and elastic. So deliciously easy I made my version within the hour from scratch! The only thing I still need to do is hemming this baby. But first it has to hang a bit so the fabric can settle itself. Then I'll hem it. This way, you won't end up with a wonky hem after a few wears/washes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Out-Of-Season Orla

On my birthday, I wish to share this wonderful creation with you: A while ago, I received Tilly and the Buttons' newsletter announcing their latest make. I instantly knew I had to have it. That collar! To die for! I was in love with it and couldn't wait to make one. Even though I had recently bought a lot (a.i. about 20-30 or so) of vintage patterns, I just couldn't be bothered with it until I was able to finish this one. SO far for my Vintage Pledge I made this year. Newsflash: I'm not going to make it. Last time I could justify it as Vintage, but this one doesn't come close, so...

The Orla comes in two versions: one with a cropped sleeve and one with full sleeves. There's also th option of the Snowdrop collar, regular collar or no collar at all. The back is also an eye-catcher thanks to it's exposed zipper. The back is also slightly longer than the front, resulting in a nice and flattering drape that keeps you from flashing something you don't want to show. The more details and depending on your choice of fabric, the more it'll catch the eye - or not, if you choose a simpler version. Long story short: I love this blouse!

When comparing sizes, it turned out I'm between size 4 and 5. 4 at the waist and 5 at the bust and hips. One of the adjustments I always have to make, is the one for my petite figure: the waist was 2cm longer than mine! This adjustment proved to be a difficult one, since I had to reshape the French dart. After a lot of fiddling around, I managed to get it right. After that, I altered the side seams: 4 at the waist, tapering out to 5 at the bust and hips. I also reduced the sleeve length by 5,5cm. If not, it would tough below my elbows. Not a pretty sight. Petite posture, lots of work. :-)

Next time I make this, I'll be cutting 1,5cm from the top of the shoulders. Right now it's doable, but just a tab bit too big to be perfect. All in all: this is a very cute blouse that I will no doubt make again! The only downpart of this version: I made it in a light, summery fabric and it's getting winter! that's why it's Out-Of-Season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thrifted: Louis Feraud

I acquired this skirt a while ago. It didn't cost me much, but it wasn't suitable for the weather in july, so I decided to put it aside until colder days. Now the days are shortening and getting colder, so finally the time had arrived for me to wear this skirt!

I don't know exactly from what era this skirt is. The etiquette reads 'Made in W. Germany'. So it is definitly a retro skirt. After all, West Germany doesn't excist anymore ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in '88. At the very least, the skirt is the same age as I am, but more likely even older! If I had to guess, I would say the 70's: 30's and 40's styles were in fashion again.

So it's definitely not an original 30's of 40's skirt. At one side because West-Germany didn't excist yet, at the other side because the finishing just aren't right: they've been serged. Aside from that, the etiquettes look far more modern. 

If you still don't believe me: Louis Feraud started his couture-line in 1958. In the 70's he made a contract with the German companie Fink to bring a ready-to-wear line to the market.VoilĂ , there you have it: the 70's!

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Almost 2 months ago, I blogged about something excited: our move. These last couple of weeks we've settled in and are enjoying the good life. I've never been happier so far. Our little rascal of a cat certainly has something to do with that. After 4 week of obligatory in-house living, he's delighted to be outside again.

Look how cute he is! Another thing we changed and are very happy about: autumn flowers! It gives a little color in this dreadful weather and we can't help ourselves to glance out of the window and smile.

That's it for this short - yet perhaps not as interessting - and non-sewing related intermezzo. ENjoy your day!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Chinese Blouse

These last couple of months, I've been trying to keep my Vintage Pledge: sewing 3 pieces of clothing from a real or repro-vintage pattern. Gertie's Bow-Tied Blouse isn't really a reproduction or real vintage pattern, but because of the influences and detailing, I'm of a mind to categorize this as a Vintage.

When wearing, the back isn't as
crinkly as the picture

First and foremost: I don't love this pattern, I adore it! I love the detailing and the 50's vibe of the pattern. Because of my fabric choice, it feels more like a Chinese inspired garment than vintage inspired, but non the less, I love it. I'm of a mind to make a lot more of these: they are comfy, easy to wear to work. They can be worn tucked in a skirt or pants or over one. What I like about this one, when tucked in, is that it doesn't really bulks at the middle and simply stays put. All my other blouses tend to make extra bulk at the waist because of the movement. This one's different.

Bound buttonhole on the outside

Regular buttonhole on the inside
Yes, I was being lazy....

Now, for the technical part: I measured between sizes 6 (waist) and 8 (bust), so I cut out 8. Even though I have enough oumpff at the front and a 'tiny' waist considering bust and hips, I only had to alter for my sway back and realign the bust darts. I took out 2,5cm on the back panel at the back seam around the waist (sway back), realigned the bust dart 2cm downward and 1cm longer. I also added an extra button at the bottom. I did make the bow-tie that comes with it, but I didn't really like it. The tie just didn't want to stay horizontal, so I ditched it.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tutorial: The Finch Saddle Bag

As promised: a tutorial to make your very own Finch Saddle Bag. The pattern comes without any instructions, so I thought it would be welcome for beginners amongst us to write a little how-to. The descriptions with pictures below is how I made it. Is it possible to improve my way of constructing this? Always. But that doesn't mean it wasn't fun to make!

To start off, you'll need to cut all the pieces out. I decided to make the outside out of fake leather and the inside with a cotton fabric I liked. Both fabrics were already in my stash from previous projects. To make the Lining a bit sturdier, I used fusible interfacing (Vlieseline 250) for pattern pieces A(2x), D and E'. If your outside fabric isn't sturdy enough, my advice is to use this interfacing on pattern pieces A through G.

Preparation: fuse the interfacings onto the necessary fabric pieces.

Take pieces E and E' (lining and outside fabric of flap) and put them with their right sides together. At 1 cm (3/8") sew them together, leaving the top open.

Before we turn the flap right side out, we need to clip in at the curves to prevent bulk. Be careful not to clip your stitchline! This'll result in a (little) hole and possible it'll unravel over time.

Turn the flap right side out and press flat. Pressing (not ironing!) is an important part of sewing. It influences how your finished product will look: neat or a bit scrappy. When working with fake leather or a fabric that is heatsensitive, use an ironing cloth between the iron and fabric. This way your iron won't damage the fabric. Now is also a good time to place the first part of your closure of choice.

Topstitch the sides for a neat finish. It's better to stitch slowly, because these stitches will be visible and a wonky line isn't really appealing to the eye. Place the flap to the side for later.

Now it's time to make the lining of the bag. Take piece A and aline with piece D'. It'll take a bit of fiddling around with the fabric, but I promise it'll work. After sewing piece A to piece D', you do the same thing with piece A'. The fiddling'll be a bit harder, but still manageable

Pin piece A to D'

Sew piece A to D'

Trim the seam allowence to 0,5cm to reduce bulk.
Take back the flap. We'll be constructing the back panel. Place piece C right side up and place the flap right on top, with the outer fabric down. Now take piece B and place it on top of the flap, right side down. The flap is sandwiched between C and B. Stitch.

Press the back panel with the flap upwards. Topstitch the seam.

The construction of the outer body is the same as the lining: sew front and back panel to piece D. Trim seam allowance to prevent bulk if necessary. Turn right side out and put the second part of the closure in..

Time to get started on the shoulderband. The pattern comes with an extra piece (F) to place a shackle. I didn't do this, because I thought it was unnecessary for what I had in mind. You can still do this by following the steps below.

Fold piece G in half, right sides together. Sew the side seam only and turn right side out. Press. Topstitch the sides. If you want, you can add some parallel stitching lines. I decided to incorporate these lines to prevent stretching. With a cotton (interfaced) band, you don't have to do this, but it is a nice touch.

If you're using piece F, now's the time to place the shackle. Fold F in half, sew and add the shackle to the middle. Fold again so the fabric holds the shackle. Sew a line right underneath, so the shackle won't move around. Fold one end of piece G around the shackle and secure in place by sewing right underneath the shackle. Pieces F and G are sewn together. Do the same for the other side of G and the second F. Now you can use this shoulder strap as piece G in the following steps.

Fold 3cm at the end of G to the inside. Position the end at the same level as the seam of the back panel (view picture below). Sew a box and a cross (see second picture below). The cross will make sure that your strap is tightly secured to the body.

Almost done! Right now, you have 2 bags: an outer bag with the right side out and an inner bag with the right side in. Put the outer bag inside the inner bag. Be sure to tuck the shoulder band in so you won't be sewing across it.

Pin the sides together, aligning the seams. Leave about 15cm open at the back panel. This way you'll be able to turn the bag right side out. The picture below illustrates the gap, indicated by 2x 2 pins close to each other. This is my technique to remember to stop sewing.

Carefully turn the bag right side out through the opening you just created. It's not easy and will take some time, but it is possible.

Last but not least: push the corners of the lining as best as you can against the outer bag. Now all we need to do is sew the opening close. There are 2 ways to do this: you can opt to handsew the opening close with an invisible stitch. Or you can close this by topstitching around, as I did. The latter will give your bag a neater and more professional looking finish when done right. Again: sew slow! The bulk at the seams can be a bit of a challenge, depending on your fabrics.

Tadaaaaaaaa! Your bag is ready to be worn with your fabulous, handmade clothes! Have fun!